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8 15.82 Notice of hearing and response

thereto. A notice of hearing shall fix a date not less than 30 days from the date of service of the notice of a hearing on matters alleged in the notice. If the applicant or recipient does not desire a hearing, he should so state in writing, in which case the applicant or recipient shall have the right to submit written information and argument for the record, and the additional right to further participate in the proceeding. Failure to appear at the time set for a hearing, without good cause, shall be deemed a waiver of the right to a hearing under section 602 of the Act and the regulations in this part and consent to the making of a decision on such information as is available which may be presented for the record.

ure to file an answer shall be deemed an admission of all allegations of fact in the notice. Allegations of fact in the notice not denied or controverted by answer shall be deemed admitted. Matters intended to be offered as affirmative defenses must be stated as a separate part of the answer. The answer under $ 15.82 shall be filed within 20 days from the date of service of the notice of hearing. The answer under $ 15.83 shall be filed within 20 days of service of the notice of opportunity to request a hearing.

§ 15.83 Notice of opportunity to request a

hearing and response thereto. A notice of opportunity to request a hearing shall set a date not less than 20 days from service of said notice within which the applicant or recipient may file a request for a hearing, or may wiave a hearing and submit written information and argument for the record, in which case, the applicant or recipient shall have the right to further participate in the proceeding. When the applicant or recipient elects to file a request for a hearing, a time shall be set for the hearing at a date not less than 20 days from the date applicant or recipient is notified of the date set for the hearing. Failure of the applicant or recipient to request a hearing or to appear at the date set shall be deemed a waiver of the right to a hearing, under section 602 of the Act and the regulations in this part and consent to the making of a decision on such information as is available which may be presented for the record.

8 15.85 Amendment of notice or answer.

The notice of hearing or notice of opportunity to request a hearing may be amended once as a matter of course before an answer thereto is served, and each applicant or recipient may amend his answer once as a matter of course not later than 10 days before the date fixed for hearing but in no event later than 20 days from the date of service of his original answer. Otherwise a notice or answer may be amended only by leave of the hearing officer. An applicant or recipient shall file his answer to an amended notice within the time remaining for filing the answer to the original notice or within 10 days after service of the amended notice, whichever period may be the longer, unless the hearing offi. cer otherwise orders.

§ 15.86 Consolidated or joint hearings.

Two or more proceedings against the same respondent, or against different respondents in which the same or related facts are asserted to constitute noncompliance, may be consolidated for hearing or decision or both by the agency head, if he has the principal responsibility within the Department for the administration of all the laws extending the Federal financial assistance involved. If laws administered by more than one agency head are involved, such officials may by agreement order consolidation for hearing. The Secretary may order proceedings in the Department consolidated for hearing with proceedings in other Federal Departments or agencies, by agreement with such other Departments or agencies. All parties to any

8 15.84 Answer.

In any case covered by $ 15.82 or $ 15.83 the applicant or recipient shall file an answer. Said answer shall admit or deny each allegation of the notice, unless the applicant or recipient is without knowledge, in which case the answer shall so state, and the statement will be considered a denial. Fail

proceeding consolidated subsequently to service of the notice of hearing or notice of opportunity to request a hearing shall be promptly served with notice of such consolidation.

illness, disqualification or unavailability occurs during the course of a hearing, the hearing will be either continued under a substitute hearing officer, or terminated and tried de novo in the discretion of the Secretary. In the absence of the designated hearing officer any hearing examiner may rule on motions and other interlocutory papers.

HEARING OFFICER

8 15.91 Who presides.

A hearing officer shall preside over all proceedings held under this part. The hearing officer shall be a hearing examiner qualified under section 11 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.), and designated to hold hearings under the regulations in this subpart or any person authorized to hold a hearing and make a final decision. The hearing officer will serve until he has made an initial decision, certified the record to the Secretary, or made a final decision if so authorized.

§ 15.92 Designation of hearing officer.

Unless otherwise provided by an order of the Secretary at the time the notice of alleged noncompliance provided in § 15.81 is filed with the Office of the Hearing Clerk, the hearing shall be held before a hearing examiner, who shall be appointed by the Chief Hearing Examiner, Office of Hearing Examiners within five days after the filing of such notice. Unless otherwise provided, the hearing examiner shall certify the entire record with his recommended findings and proposed decision to the Secretary for final decision.

§ 15.95 Responsibilities and duties of hear.

ing officer. The hearing officer shall have the duty to conduct a fair hearing, to take all necessary action to avoid delay, and to maintain order. He shall have all powers necessary to these ends, including (but not limited to) the power to:

(a) Arrange and issue notice of the date, time and place of hearings, or, upon due notice to the parties, to change the date, time and place of hearings previously set.

(b) Hold conferences to settle, simplify, or fix the issues in a proceeding, or to consider other matters that may aid in the expeditious disposition of the proceeding.

(c) Require parties and interveners to state their position with respect to the various issues in the proceeding.

(d) Administer oaths and affirmations.

(e) Rule on motions, and other procedural items on matters pending before him.

(f) Regulate the course of the hearing and conduct of parties therein.

(g) Examine witnesses and direct witnesses to testify.

(h) Receive, rule on, exclude or limit evidence.

(i) Fix the time for filing motions, petitions, briefs, or other items in mat. ters pending before him.

(j) In accordance with his authority issue an initial decision, or recommended findings and proposed decision, or final decision.

(k) Take any other action a hearing officer is authorized to take under these rules or Subpart A of this part.

§ 15.93 Time and place of hearing.

When a notice of hearing is sent to an applicant or recipient, the time and place of hearing shall be fixed by the Secretary, and when the applicant or recipient requests a hearing, the time and place shall be set by the hearing officer and in either case in conformi. ty with $ 15.9(b). The complainant, if any, shall be advised of the time and place of the hearing.

MOTIONS

8 15.94 Disability of hearing officer.

In the case of death, illness, disquali. fication, or unavailability of the designated hearing officer, another hearing officer may be designated by the Secretary to take his place. If such death,

8 15.101 Form and content.

(a) General. Motions shall state the relief sought and the authority relied upon. If made before or after the hearing, the motion shall be in writing and filed with the hearing clerk with a copy to all parties. If made at the hearing, they should be stated orally but the hearing officer may require that any motion be reduced to writing and filed and served on all parties in the same manner as a formal motion.

(b) Extension of time or postponement. A request for an extention of time should be filed and served on all parties and should set forth the reasons for the request and may be granted upon a showing of good cause. Answers to such requests are permitted, if made promptly.

(1) Simplification and clarification of the issues;

(2) Necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;

(3) Stipulations, admissions of fact and of the contents and authenticity of documents;

(4) Matters of which official notice will be taken;

(5) Limitation of the number of experts or other witnesses;

(6) Disposal of all motions; and

(7) Such other matters as may expedite and aid in the disposition of the proceeding.

(b) The hearing officer shall enter in the record a written summary of the results of the conference or correspondence with the parties.

8 15.102 Responses to motions.

Within 8 days or such reasonable time as may be fixed by the hearing officer, or Secretary, if the motion is properly addressed to him, any party may file a response to the motion, unless the motion is made at a hearing in which case an immediate response may be required. The hearing officer may dispose of motions at a prehearing conference.

8 15.103 Disposition of motions.

The hearing officer may not sustain or grant a motion prior to expiration of the time for filing responses thereto, but may overrule or deny such motion without waiting on a response: Provided, however, That prehearing conferences, hearings, and decisions need not be delayed pending disposition of motions. Oral motions may be ruled on immediately. Motions submitted to the hearing officer not disposed of in separate rulings or in his decision will be deemed denied. Oral argument shall not be held on written motions unless expressly ordered. Interlocutory appeals from rulings on motions shall be governed by $ 15.123.

$ 15.111 Purpose of hearing.

(a) The hearing is directed to receiving factual evidence and expert opinion testimony related to the issues in the proceeding. Argument will not be received in evidence; rather it should be presented in statements, memoranda or briefs, as determined by the hearing officer. Brief opening statements, which shall be limited to a statement of the party's position and what he intends to prove, may also be made at hearings.

(b) Hearings for the reception of evidence will be held only in cases where issues of fact must be resolved in order to determine whether the respondent has failed to comply with one or more applicable requirements of Subpart A of this part. In any case where it appears from the answer of the applicant or recipient to the notice of hearing or notice of opportunity to request a hearing, from his failure timely to answer, or from his admissions or stipulations in the record that there are no matters of material fact in dispute, the hearing officer may enter an order so finding, and fixing the time for the submission of evidence by the Government for the record. Thereafter, the proceedings shall go to conclusion in accordance with Subpart A of this part and the rules of this subpart. An appeal from such order may be allowed in accordance with the rules for interlocutory appeal in § 15.123.

HEARING PROCEDURES

8 15.110 Prehearing conferences.

(a) In any case in which it appears that such procedure will expedite the proceeding, the hearing officer may, prior to the commencement of the hearing, request the parties to meet with him or to correspond with him regarding any of the following:

8 15.112 Statement of position and brief.

The hearing officer may require all parties and any intervener to file a written statement of position or brief prior to the beginning of a hearing.

8 15.116 Depositions.

Upon such terms as may be just, the hearing officer, in his discretion, may authorize the testimony of any witness to be taken by deposition.

8 15.117 Evidence.

Irrelevant, immaterial, unreliable, and unduly repetitious evidence will be excluded, and technical rules of evi. dence shall not apply but rules or principles designed to assure the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination shall apply.

8 15.113 Testimony.

(a) Testimony shall be given orally under oath or affirmation by witnesses at the hearing, but the hearing officer, in his discretion, may require or permit that the testimony of any witness be prepared in writing and served on all parties in advance of the hearing. Such testimony may be adopted by the witness at the hearing and filed as part of the record thereof. Unless authorized by the hearing officer, witnesses will not be permitted to read prepared testimony into the record. Except as provided in $ $ 15.115 and 15.116, witnesses shall be available at the hearing for cross-examination.

(b) Proposed exhibits shall be exchanged either at a prehearing conference, or otherwise prior to the hearing. Proposed exhibits not exchanged may be denied admission as evidence unless good cause is shown why they were not exchanged. The authenticity of all proposed exhibits exchanged prior to hearing will be deemed admitted unless written objection thereto is filed prior to the hearing or unless good cause is shown at the hearing for failure to file such written objection.

8 15.118 Cross-examination.

Cross-examination will be limited to the scope of direct examination and matters at issue in the hearing. 8 15.119 Objections.

Objections to evidence shall be timely and briefly state the ground relied upon. The ruling of the hearing officer will be part of the record. Argument in support of the objection will not be part of the record.

SO

§ 15.120 Exceptions to rulings of hearing

officer unnecessary. Exceptions to rulings of the hearing officer are unnecessary. It is sufficient that a party, at the time the ruling of the hearing officer is sought, makes known the action which he desires the hearing officer to take, or his objection to an action taken, and his grounds therefor.

8 15.115 Affidavits.

An affidavit, intended to be used as evidence without cross-examination of the affiant, will be filed and served on the parties at least 15 days prior to the hearing; and not less than seven days prior to hearing a party may file and serve written objections to any affidavit on the ground that he believes it necessary to test the truth of assertions therein by cross-examination. In such event, the affidavit objected to will not be received in evidence unless the affiant is made available for crossexamination at the hearing or otherwise as prescribed by the hearing officer. In absence of an objection being filed within the time specified, such affidavit will be received in evidence,

$ 15.121 Official notice.

A public document, or part thereof, such as an official report decision, opinion, or published scientific or economic statistical data issued by any branch of the Federal or a State Gov. ernment which has been shown to be reasonably available to the public, may be offered for official notice and accepted in the record without further proof of authenticity. Where official notice is to be taken, any party, on timely request, shall have an opportunity to show the contrary.

§ 15.122 Offer of proof.

An offer of proof made in connection with an objection taken to any ruling of the hearing officer rejecting or excluding proposed oral testimony shall consist of a statement for the record of the substance of the evidence which counsel contends would be adduced by such testimony; and, if the excluded evidence consists of evidence in documentary or written form or of reference to documents or records, a copy of such evidence shall be marked for identification and shall accompany the record as an offer of proof.

forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny such matters. Copies of requests for admission and answers thereto shall be served on all parties. Any admission made by a party to such request is only for the purposes of the pending proceeding, any proceeding or action instituted for the enforcement of any order entered therein, and shall not constitute an admission by him for any other purpose or be used against him in any other proceeding or action.

or

(31 FR 8586, June 21, 1966)

THE RECORD

8 15.123 Appeals from ruling of hearing

officer. A ruling of the hearing officer may not be appealed to the Secretary prior to consideration of the entire proceeding by the hearing officer except with the consent of the hearing officer and where he certifies on the record or in writing that the allowance of an interlocutory appeal is clearly necessary to prevent exceptional delay, expense, or prejudice to any part or substantial detriment to the public interest. If an appeal is allowed, any party may file a brief with the Secretary within such period as the hearing officer directs. Oral argument will be heard in the discretion of the Secretary.

8 15.131 Official transcript.

The hearing clerk will designate the official reporter for all hearings. The official transcript of testimony taken, together with any affidavits, exhibits, depositions, briefs, or memoranda of law shall be filed with the hearing clerk. Transcripts of testimony in hearings will be supplied by the official reporter to the parties and to the public at rates not to exceed the maximum rates fixed by the contract between the Department and the reporter. Upon notice to all parties, the hearing officer may authorized corrections to the transcript which involve matters of substance.

§ 15.124 Admissions as to facts and docu.

ments. Not later than 15 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing except for good cause shown, or prior to such earlier date as the hearing officer may order, any party may serve upon an opposing party a written request for the admission of the genuineness and authenticity of any relevant documents described in and exhibited with the request, or for the admission of the truth of any relevant matters of fact stated in the request. Each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted, unless within a period designated in the request (not less than 10 days after service thereof, or within such further time as the hearing officer may allow upon motion and notice) the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the requesting party a sworn statement either deny. ing specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or setting

& 15.132 Record for decision.

The transcript of testimony, exhibits, affidavits, depositions, briefs, memoranda of law, and all pleadings, motions, papers, and requests filed in the proceeding, except the correspondence section of the docket, including rulings, and any recommended findings and proposed decision, or initial decision shall constitute the exclusive record for final decision.

POSTHEARING PROCEDURES

8 15.135 Posthearing briefs.

The hearing officer shall fix a reasonable time for filing posthearing briefs, which may contain proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and, if permitted, reply briefs. Briefs should include a summary of the evidence relied upon together with references to exhibit numbers and pages of

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